State Politics

A jury will likely hear this whistleblower lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Labor

The James A. McClure Federal Building and Courthouse in Boise.
The James A. McClure Federal Building and Courthouse in Boise. Idaho Statesman file

A federal judge has narrowed the claims in a whistleblower case against the Idaho Department of Labor, but indicated he'll likely allow the case to go to a jury trial.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill rejected a motion from the state to dismiss the case.

The state claims former department purchasing agent James Cryer was pressing a personal grudge, not exercising First Amendment-protected free speech, when he complained about purchasing and personnel violations at the department.

After Cryer's concerns went unaddressed, he sent seven anonymous emails pressing them.

The department responded by issuing a subpoena to determine who sent the emails, and when Cryer was identified, he was fired.

The 28-year state employee was two years short of full retirement.

The department's lawyer told the court Friday the department saw Cryer's final email as a threat.

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